Opponents to protest Wake schools assignment policy

Posted June 21, 2010 8:02 a.m. EDT
Updated June 21, 2010 3:09 p.m. EDT

— The state NAACP will host a community gathering Monday night to build support against the Wake County Board of Education's decision to change the student assignment policy.

The gathering will be held at 7 p.m. at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, 1801 Hillsborough St. in Raleigh.

The group is protesting the school board’s decision earlier this year to move away from a system where students are bused to help balance socio-economic diversity across the school system in favor of assigning students closer to home.

NAACP state chapter President Rev. William Barber and three others were arrested Tuesday evening and charged with second-degree trespassing after they interrupted the school board's meeting, locked arms and sang songs.

The "non-violent conscientious objection," as Barber called it, disrupted the meeting for about an hour.

Board member John Tedesco has defended the board's decision to re-shape the system and move toward community-based schools and said the NAACP's efforts aren't necessary.

The five board members who voted to end the busing policy argued there are better ways to achieve diversity in schools. They favor keeping Wake's nearly 140,000 students as close to home as possible.

The NAACP fears ending the longstanding busing policy will re-segregate schools and result in a high concentration of poverty, low-performing schools and high teacher turnover.